A group of high school friends in Chile made a pact to meet once a month for tea. It was a time without their husbands or children where they could discuss just about anything under the moon.
They alternated homes every 30 days and enjoyed cakes, cookies, tea and good conversation. For 60 years.
These women, whose friendship navigated through marriages, children (grandchildren), political strife, disease and death, are the main characters of the new documentary “Tea Time (La Once),” set to premiere on PBS’s Point of View series on July 27.
“It’s my grandmother and her longtime friends,” director Maite Alberdi told Fox News Latino from Chile recently. “It feels like you are part of this feminine intimacy that only can be seen from their point of view.”
The film opens with Alberdi’s grandmother describing each of her friends – the talkative one, the conservative one, the more liberal one – just little bits of who the women who are about to enrapture the viewers with their conversations.
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Over the course of five years, the 32-year-old filmmaker captured the expressions, longwinded conversations of her grandmother’s group of friends.
“They have never mentioned the impact of having the cameras around,” Alberdi said. “But they were always open to having them there so much that they would forget about them being there.”
She said their conversations were sometimes spirited and they repeated the topics often, but it was just about getting together as friends and never losing that closeness.
“It was about their lives and reliving those moments with their friends,” Alberdi said. “My intention was to capture those moments, not just the person speaking, but the uninhibited reaction from the others that were just listening.”
Alberdi said she learned a lot from the women throughout the years, capturing their monthly meetings, especially that friendship is more than just knowing someone, but really putting an effort to cultivate it.
“I also learned to listen to their thoughts without judging them,” she added. “They lived through a radical time in history [Gen. Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship] and their beliefs are more conservative.”
The protagonists of “Tea Time” were very happy with the documentary and having something to share with their families about these special times in their lives, Alberdi said.
“Tea Time” will be shown on PBS’s Point of View series on July 27 at 10 p.m.